The Full Wiki

Karl Koecher: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Karel František Koecher (21 September 1934 in Bratislava) is the only mole known to have penetrated the CIA. Born in Czechoslovakia, he became a radio comedy writer and was allegedly frequently scrutinized by the Communist security forces for his satire that mocked the regime (this turned out to be a pre-planned "cover story"). He officially joined the Czechoslovakian intelligence service in 1962.

Because of his English language skills, Koecher was selected to become a mole in the West. In 1965 he and his wife, Hana Koecher, seemingly defected to the West, moving to the United States. Koecher became an American citizen in 1970. After several years as a sleeper he was hired by the CIA as a translator/analyst in 1973 due to his fake dissident credentials and skills in a number of Eastern European languages. He was given high level security clearance and given the job of translating and analyzing documents handed over by CIA agents and transcripts of wiretaps and bugs. He quickly became one the USSR's best sources of information, allowing them to mount effective defense against CIA covert actions.

In 1975, however, Koecher was summoned back to a meeting with KGB head of counter-intelligence, Oleg Kalugin. One of Koecher's own "smoke stories" claimed that after testing Koecher, Kalugin argued that he was in fact a double agent and his information could not be trusted. Koecher then retired, leaving the CIA for a post in academia. By the end of the 1970s Koecher was rehabilitated by the KGB.

In 1980, with growing tensions due to the election of Ronald Reagan, Koecher was one of a number of agents reactivated. He returned to work part-time for the CIA. Although the FBI asserts that it was at that time already on to him, no action was taken against him. To this day, neither the FBI nor the CIA will reveal what alerted them to Koecher's treachery. Koecher and other KGB officials believe it was Kalugin. The whole "Kalugin intermezzo" was never independently confirmed and is known as "Koecher version" of the events.

The FBI apprehended Koecher and brought him and, soon afterwards, his wife in for several days of questioning. Finally, Koecher agreed to become a double agent working for the Americans, provided that they agreed to grant him immunity from prosecution. This was done and Koecher attempted to convince the FBI that he was cooperating.

However, it was then decided that Koecher was not reliable enough to be a double agent and was likely to defect and return to Czechoslovakia. Thus on November 27, 1984, the day before they were scheduled to fly to Switzerland, Koecher and his wife were arrested in New York City. The arrest of the two agents was released to the media.

It soon emerged that the FBI had badly blundered. Koecher's alleged confession was given only after he had been promised immunity, and was thus invalid. His wife had been denied access to a lawyer despite frequent requests for one. With little concrete evidence, it appeared that Koecher had a good chance of being acquitted.

Not long after this became apparent, Koecher was the victim of an attempted stabbing by an unnamed inmate while in prison. The inmate lunged at Koecher with a pair of scissors and would probably have severely wounded or killed him if not for the intervention of the then president of the Hells Angels, who was in the cell next door to Koecher in the high security facility. The two had frequently conversed and grown friendly. Koecher thus escaped unharmed. The disappearance of his assailant after the attack has led Koecher to accuse American security officials of trying to have him killed. The CIA and FBI deny this charge.

Koecher, worrying about his own safety, sent through his lawyer a request to the KGB chairman that he be part of a prisoner exchange with the Soviets. KGB chairman Kryuchkov agreed, and so did the prosecutor’s office, concerned about the embarrassing chance of an acquittal. Thus in February 11, 1986, Koecher and his wife were part of a nine person exchange at Glienicke Bridge in Berlin, of which the most prominent member was noted dissident Anatoly Shcharansky.

Koecher returned to Czechoslovakia to a hero's welcome and was given a house and a Volvo car as a reward for his services. He was also given a cushy employment at the Prognostic Institute, where he shared an office with Václav Klaus, the future Czech president. It is said that Koecher played an organizing role in the early days of the Velvet Revolution (1989), as he was seen by U.S. journalists issuing orders at the Laterna Magika theatre. Koecher denied any involvement in the Velvet Revolution, stating that U.S. journalists must have mixed him up with the then unknown Václav Klaus, who had a similar appearance.[1]

The fall of communism has seen him fall from prominence, with the exception of his denied involvement in the Princess Diana investigation in Vienna. He continues to live in the Czech Republic in relative obscurity. His wife, Hana Koecher, made the headlines in the Czech Republic, when she was fired from her new job as a translator for the British Embassy in Prague. The British were completely unaware of her espionage past until a Czech newspaper reporter notified them.


  • Ronald Kessler: The CIA At War: Inside The Secret Campaign Against Terror, 2004, ISBN 0-312-31933-9.
  • Ronald Kessler: The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, 2003, ISBN 0-312-98977-6.
  • Ronald Kessler: The FBI: Inside the World's Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency, 1994, ISBN 0-671-78658-X.
  • Ronald Kessler: Inside the CIA, 1994, ISBN 0-671-73458-X.
  • Ronald Kessler: Escape from the CIA: How the CIA Won and Lost the Most Important KGB Spy Ever to Defect to the U.S., 1991, ISBN 0-671-72664-1.
  • Ronald Kessler: The spy in the Russian club : how Glenn Souther stole America's nuclear war plans and escaped to Moscow, ASIN B00005WXWM, 1990, ISBN 978-0684191164.
  • Ronald Kessler: Spy Vs Spy: Stalking Soviet Spies in America, 1988, ISBN 0-7153-9337-5.
  1. ^ Česká televize, 15. 6. 2007 Uvolněte se, prosím

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address